Business Models for Startups

Early version of a Business Model Canvas for Underwire

Early version of a Business Model Canvas for Underwire

Money Making

I spent a considerable part of Q2 obsessing over how to make money with Underwire.

The Business Model Canvas above is my first iteration. I shared it with advisors and confidants. I simplified it to two revenue streams. I set goals and made plans.

Then I went on vacation. I didn't think at all about models. Instead, I thought about scale. I visited eastern Europe and witnessed the ruins of the Holocaust and its impact on the cultures and landscapes of Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, Prague, Nuremberg, Munich and Berchtesgaden. The scale of Hitler's vision was utterly astounding and sickening. He went as big as inhumanely possible.

Then I experienced the scale of Hell's Canyon, North America's deepest river gorge, and the Oregon coast at Bandon. These are epic landscapes that prove who's in charge. Not us. There are much bigger forces at work. Mother Nature being one of them, and oh baby is she ever going to work us over in the years ahead.

Out of this vacation came key takeaway no. 1: Men think big.

Women do, too, but we all know that the money goes to help men realize their big vision way more than it does to women. We have got to create more space for women to realize epic, blow-new-markets-wide-open visions.

Key takeaway no. 2: There are proven ways to make money. We don't need to get tricky with our business models.

I came to this second takeaway last week at lunch with Dave Parker, who kicked my ass with the insight that there are only 16 startup revenue models. Your idea for a company may be unique and huge but how you make money isn't.

Dave created a 22-page Slideshare deck that eloquently outlines the purpose of a business model with examples of the 16 options. Each option has use-cases, key metrics and succinct challenges and notes based on Dave's extensive career as an entrepreneur and investor.

BTW, Dave is one of the good guys working to support female founders as an investor and advisor. I see him around Seattle at the female-focused events, and he developed a program called the 6 Month Startup: From Ideation to Revenue. The fourth Seattle cohort begins this Fall, and he's taking the program to cities around the world.

If you've got your model nailed, brava for putting in the work and finding product-market fit. Run with that. However, I suspect many of us have anxiety about our models. Use Dave's examples to think about how you might pivot or add another model to your mix to diversify your income streams.

One other practical tool is the Business Model Canvas from Strategyzer. I love how it requires you to simplify and visualize your model by looking at how you'll create, deliver and capture value to your customers. Download a blank canvas here.

I'm trained in the Strategyzer methodology. I'm happy to coach you through scenarios if you want to buy a couple hours of my time. Shoot me an email.


Namaste, Bitches!

I'll be talking about this yoga retreat until it’s booked because I believe it in that much. For bendy-flexy types, it’s the trifecta—yoga, supportive women and incredible food. With a cherry of a space on top.

Last January, 13 amazing women gathered for one day. We had a VC, a couple of seed stage startup founders, many bootstrappers and a CEO of an established company expanding into new markets. You get a full day with the highest caliber women. There is no other networking like this in the Seattle area.

Underwire Yoga Retreat
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019
8:30 am - 5 pm

Get thy ass booked

Learn more about the venue, teacher, food, etc.